What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Sep 09, 2017 12:18 pm

Based on Longfellow's poem and a true historical atrocity, EVANGELINE (1929) has Dolores del Rio being loved by two men (Donald Reed and Roland Drew) but only loving the latter, despite Reed's protestations of love since childhood, (and one feels he should have been told sooner). Against this is set the story of the people of Acadia, a North American community who refuse the British Governor-General's orders to support Britain in its war against France. For their defiance, their possessions are to be confiscated (one should say stolen), their properties burnt, and for the people to be scattered among the other towns of America. During this ruthless procedure (condemned by the British at home) Evangeline's father dies and she is separated from her fiance. She spends several years (with the aid of kindly priest Alec B Francis) in the search for him...

My appreciation of EVANGELINE was a little muted (it was issued with music and some singing on discs, not all of which survive) by a temporary hearing problem, but I did not want to lose the chance to watch what turned out to be a remarkable movie. In addition to being presented in a beautiful print, EVANGELINE came over (despite the odd absurdity) as a remarkably powerful piece of film-making, with a very good feel for period and a set of characters which one can sympathise* with, as well as a decently integrated element of humour. Splendidly shot, with the bonus of some effective tinting, this is an engrossing piece of drama, movingly told. And unlike the same year's SHOW BOAT, the disk-less passages have been provided with some music. A lovely film.

Followed this with THE USURER'S GRIP (1912), a story of a couple who foolishly borrow money from a loan shark (Charles Ogle) when their daughter falls sick and they become behind with the rent. An intriguing movie, produced as a sort of advert for the Co-Op. One or two spots are a bit confusing (the repayment details), and one wonders why the bully of a woman working for Ogle follows the young man to his workplace, as the sack would make it more difficult to pay back the money.

*the notary, was credited as George Marion, but I would not have recognised him. Is there a mistake here?
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Sep 09, 2017 10:06 pm

For me it was the last silent shown at Cinecon: WHEN DAWN CAME, which featured Colleen Moore in an early role. It's a preachy drama about how religion solves all problems, but it's well-made for a 1920 indie and even in a "tragic" role Moore's star quality is already evident.

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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 5:05 am

It's possible that a score and some tinting would improve LAUGHTER AND TEARS (1921), an Anglo-Dutch co-production also known as CIRCUS JIM. Here, Adelqui Miglar (who also wrote the thing) plays an unsuccessful painter living in Venice with his 'Bohemian' friends. He is then befriended by 'Pierette' (Evelyn Brent), a free spirit who becomes his lover. Shortly after, one of his paintings wins a prize and he is taken under the wing of an attractive Countess, played by Dorothy Fane, who wants her portrait painted in Paris. Our here then buggers off there, leaving the poor girl some money and a bruised heart...

Although LAUGHTER AND TEARS runs little more than an hour, I found it turgid stuff, mainly due to the uninteresting and often annoying characters. According to Wiki, Miglar was about thirty when the film was made, but he comes over as a stuffy, middle-aged old fart. There is one character who is described as a 'squirrel painter' but of that side to his talent, sadly little is seen. Reminiscent of the sort of novel which went out of fashion around 1930 or so...
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 9:24 am

Have been watching the 2 DVD set of Max Davidson short comedies either directed by or overseen by Leo McCarey. A couple of these, "Dumb Daddies" (1928) and "Love 'em and Feed 'em"(1927) have reconstructed scenes to flesh out the finished product, scenes put together from stills where the 35mm nitrate has deteriorated beyond repair, or a part of a reel or an entire reel is missing. "Love 'em and Feed 'em" is now only a 9 minute film, probably originally 20 at least. "Dumb Daddies" is basically missing the first reel, though the second is all there. The latter film is extremely disjointed plot-wise, which lessens the quality certainly, but it's still very funny. One of the IMDb reviewers classifies it as "surreal", and that is probably correct. Others I've watched are "Don't Tell Everything" (1927), "Should Second Husbands Come First" (1927), "Flaming Fathers" (1927), "Call of the Cuckoo" (1927", and "Pass the Gravy" (1928). All of these are wonderful! I especially enjoyed "Pass the Gravy". It's simply off-the-wall. My favorite, so far, though, is "Call of the Cuckoo". I've really enjoyed discovering Max Davidson's short films, and the humor has been looked forward to each night as a way to cap off the evening. All available from Filmmuseum München in Germany.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 1:38 pm

Another 'unknown', SHIPS OF THE NIGHT (1928) was a trifle silly, but quite good fun, nevertheless. Starting on the coast of Borneo, Jacqueline Logan's brother is tricked into thinking he has killed a man in an argument over cards, and high-tails it to 'Derelict Island'. Fortunately a native has not only seen his pal who has done the dirty, but sees him kill the fellow who was feigning death. Pretty soon the brother's innocence is suspected and the real culprit flees, whilst Jacqueline sets off for the island, and adventure, which includes villainous pirates, abduction, and other boys' own ingredients, not forgetting the romance. The island is ruled by a wealthy, villainous Oriental, played by Sojin, the gaunt Japanese in THE BAT.

Despite a print which is murky in places, this as a pretty entertaining film if one relishes the absurd. Oh and there is Andy Clyde as a woman-hungry Mr Pastry lookalike and what looks like a little feminine nudity - bit at a distance.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 4:18 pm

earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:Based on Longfellow's poem and a true historical atrocity, EVANGELINE (1929) has Dolores del Rio being loved by two men (Donald Reed and Roland Drew) but only loving the latter, despite Reed's protestations of love since childhood, (and one feels he should have been told sooner). Against this is set the story of the people of Acadia, a North American community who refuse the British Governor-General's orders to support Britain in its war against France. For their defiance, their possessions are to be confiscated (one should say stolen), their properties burnt, and for the people to be scattered among the other towns of America. During this ruthless procedure (condemned by the British at home) Evangeline's father dies and she is separated from her fiance. She spends several years (with the aid of kindly priest Alec B Francis) in the search for him...

My appreciation of EVANGELINE was a little muted (it was issued with music and some singing on discs, not all of which survive) by a temporary hearing problem, but I did not want to lose the chance to watch what turned out to be a remarkable movie. In addition to being presented in a beautiful print, EVANGELINE came over (despite the odd absurdity) as a remarkably powerful piece of film-making, with a very good feel for period and a set of characters which one can sympathise* with, as well as a decently integrated element of humour. Splendidly shot, with the bonus of some effective tinting, this is an engrossing piece of drama, movingly told. And unlike the same year's SHOW BOAT, the disk-less passages have been provided with some music. A lovely film.


I can only concur with my learned friend's summation of this very beautifully made photoplay. I had been yearning to see it for some time and arrangements only came to fruition yesterday enabling me to absorb it.

I have long been enamoured of Dolores del Rio, and, apart from the obvious reasons, I also admired her acting ability. Here she is afforded every opportunity to display her emotions amply and she does so with great effect.

The picture is wonderfully accompanied. The Vitaphone discs which are missing for some of the scenes featuring the orchestra conducted by Hugo Riesenfeld and his intellectually compiled score, are played on the piano. All of it gels quite smoothly. The ending is a surprise too in that the director has chosen to use the new-fangled sound system sparingly. Ms. del Rio sings a brief song and then utters a very short but poignant phrase.

Again, silent cinema proves itself to be a very powerful medium playing on the viewer's emotions and the Kleenex Manufactory would be well pleased with me.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 6:37 am

Donald Binks wrote: Ms. del Rio sings a brief song and then utters a very short but poignant phrase.


Is it, "You ain't heard nothin' yet!" ?

Jim
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 8:53 am

I'm currently working through Edition Filmmuseum's strangely put together "Kafka Goes to the Movies." Now as important to literature as Franz Kafka was, I just find it odd that they chose him as a topic to center a group of films around. Regardless of why the DVD set exists, I'm really glad it does as the film collection is quite good.

Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer (The White Slave Girl) - Dir. August Blom: The second of four immensely popular films from Denmark, this particular film focuses on a young lady who is kidnapped and appears to be set to be sold into some sort of arranged marriage or something like that (it's never really detailed but the intertitles seem to hint at this rather than straight sale into prostitution.)

The film lacks a lot of the showy theatrical gestures being done back in the States at Biograph, though it's not totally devoid of them. The acting is much more naturalistic and shows the clear technical superiority that the Danish film industry had for a few short years. The narrative made sense, didn't require too many titles to understand (though it would be lost without it.)

The closest film I can compare it to is Traffic in Souls. I wonder if that film was inspired by the Danish series or if sex-trafficking was a hot topic in fiction in the early 1910s.

Theodor Körner: - Dir. Gerhard Dammann: Not knowing anything about the German writer and soldier, this film was rather boring. Supposedly it was a big hit when it came out but I guess you have to be German to get it. *shrug*
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 12:55 pm

When I'm in the mood for a story about abortion, where babies are shown coming down from heaven (or returning there unwanted, bearing the mark of the serpent), only Where Are Our Children? (1916) will do.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 1:45 pm

Last night, I watched The Restless Sex with Marion Davies, a most delightful and offbeat treat that would have difficulty getting by the censors today. An EXTREMELY complicated romance, featuring a DeMillesque bacchanal. My fascination with Miss Davies continues unabated.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 1:51 pm

I was very pleased to come across King Vidor's THE JACK-KNIFE MAN (1920), despite a not-too clever copy, as the film rose above this handicap to be a worthwhile drama of small-town America. The man of the title, Peter Lane (Fred Turner) is an easy-going sort of chap who lives on a scruffy houseboat in extreme poverty. He is also the concern of a thrice-widowed lady (Lillian Leighton) who longs for him to improve his situation. On a dreadful night there is a knock at the door, a child enters and his mother (Claire McDowell) collapses. Peter sets about helping them, rustling up some grub, but panics when the mother asks him to help her out of her sodden clothes. The next morning he sends for the doctor, but it's too late for the poor woman. Assuming her to be his wife (though she looks less than half his age) the doctor scolds Peter for not removing her clothes as that may have contributed to her death.

Seeing a new purpose in life (for he has sold the boat to buy food and other stuff for the mother and child) he sets off down the river with the boy. Along the way he encounters a tramp who steals the boat, and both become rivals for the lad's affections. In addition, the local judge is after putting the boy in a home, particularly as it will net him twenty dollars...

THE JACK-KNIFE MAN has perhaps a few too many coincidences, presumably in the original novel, and Peter's change of fortune (SPOILER - his talent for carving becomes a big business, but one would think solo production of wooden animals would be an exhausting task) could perhaps have been better explained. However, the film (with echoes of 'Silas Marner' and Vidor's 1931 movie THE CHAMP) has a good feeling for place, and is generally involving, sympathetic and touching, especially in the last scene.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 6:59 pm

Just as now, we have a lot of rubbishy films made which fulfill a momentary purpose, so they had much the same in the 1920's. It is in this category that I place "My Lady of Whims" (1925) in which Clara Bow manages to do her coquettish stuff in a romantic comedy. It's all very light nonsense, with some witty inter-titles here and there and a basic formulaic plot. Something that one can watch whilst at the same time remembering to go to the butchers tomorrow and getting the joint in for the weekend. Mildly entertaining at the time but instantly forgettable.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 7:20 pm

Once one gets over the shock of seeing Gary Cooper shortly after he is out of short trousers, one can get to enjoy the rather simple story of morals involved with "Doomsday" (1928). Of course one was expecting something completely different because of the title - "Doomsday" in this instance refers to a farm in England which is owned by the young Mr. Cooper.

What we are faced with here is Florence Vidor in a quandary. She is smitten by Mr. Cooper - but he hasn't all that much in the way of the folding stuff and she would be required to work her butt off in order to get his ramshackle cottage up to livable standards. She is already a bit of a wreck having to look after her old dad (Charles A. Stevenson). So along comes wealthy banker, Lawrence Grant, who can give her all she wants by way of worldly goods but is a bit long in the tooth and so can't consummate their eventual marriage. Is Ms. Vidor happy? Duh! Of course not. She has realised she has made a mistake and wants to go back to Mr. Cooper - but he won't have anything to do with her. Quite understandable. Being Hollywood though, there does come a happy ending.

It's all well played and as we are at the zenith of silents, the pantomime is natural. Everything though is predicable and the director makes it even moreso. He doesn't bother to tease us by wandering away from the set path. As such it boils down to a satisfactory divertisment for just on an hour.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 7:56 pm

Let me preface my remarks to the 1922 version of “The Prisoner of Zenda” by stating the print I viewed would have the most God awful accompaniment I have had to endure since I saw “Piccadilly” with electric guitars and drums a few years back. It consisted of someone still under piano tutorage giving out a few chords in a limited chromatic scale assisted by a similarly un-musical person bashing a couple of dust-bin (trash-can) lids together intermittently. To say it was repetitive would be an understatement! It had nothing whatsoever to do with the picture.

Having now got that off my chest, let me try and continue.

I always liked the Ronald Colman picture from this story. It has stayed in my mind even though I may not have seen it in the last thirty or so years. There is one scene where he is walking down this enormous flight of stairs and the camera pans back to take in the spectacle. That scene has stayed in my mind.

The 1922 silent version is not too dissimilar. Instead of Ronald Colman, we get Lewis Stone - when he was younger (was he ever young?). At times he actually looked a bit like Ronald Colman, or was it my imagination channeling the later picture? Alice Terry flutters around as Princess Flavia, providing the required love interest, Stuart Holmes is a good choice as the malevolent and wicked Uncle Michael, Ramon Navarro has a small role as somebody or other - on the baddies side and Snitz Edwards is there in order to see how many silent pictures he could appear in.

The buckle swashes a lot in this picture and MGM's art department have not let the side down in providing lavishness in sets and interiors throughout. It is all really a good yarn, a boy's own adventure and one doesn't really tire of it. In some ways one's mind drifts off to the similarly Ruritanian provinces depicted in countless operettas and the silly people and plots involved with them. This is also rather silly and improbable, but who cares? It's all fun and quite entertaining.

It's a relatively long picture and I must admit I nearly drifted off a couple of times, nonetheless, having never seen it before, I am glad I did. (With a proper musical accompaniment, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot, lot more).
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 8:13 pm

When it came out back in 1920, "Sex" must have been quite shocking. Apart from the title, it dealt with adultery and divorce. (Pass the smelling salts please!).

How far we have come in the last 90 years!

I don't think this film has anything to do with a stage vehicle trotted out by Mae West - and which also created quite a furore.

Louise Glaum is a stage star, famous for doing a spider in the web type number. She uses her sex appeal to hook in a married man (William Conklin), although a brief look at her dial would not seem she would be capable - but, no accounting for taste. The man's wife (Myrtle Stedman) finds out. There is a ding-dong and the couple divorce.

We progress on a little further, Ms. Glaum meets another bloke (Irving Cummings) who is well to do and so she decides to marry him. Contrary to her past, she becomes a devoted wife, however he is a philanderer and has a young actress as his paramour.

Thus we go full circle, Ms. Glaum becomes the put-upon wife who finds out...

One has to look at this film in the context of the times in order to fully appreciate it and to then realise that it is putting across a very controversial storyline. events like these did of course go on, but nobody much talked about such things. It was all, too, too awful to contemplate.

Although not the best print in the world - one of those 6th or 7th generation prints where the contrast has gone to blazes and one ends up sometimes with white faces and title cards that are hard to decipher, nonetheless it was an interesting picture and the acting was passable.

Again the accompaniment was a bit of a worry. I think someone got a whole lot of gramophone records on loan from the local undertaker's and decided to use them together with a few jazz records from his/her own collection. Then there was a bit of a problem with the cord going in from the gramophone for the sound petered out every so often, then started up again. What one goes through in order to have a bit of a look at a silent picture!
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 5:45 am

One has to remember that the events depicted in "The Captive" (1915) were contemporary to audiences of that time. Cecil B. de Mille has decided to make a sort of love story in the then rather episodic vignette form, based on the wars going on that were breaking up the Ottoman Empire. He has centred on the battle between the Turks and the emerging Kingdom of Monte Negro.

Set in a small Monte Negran rustic farmlet, we come upon Blanche Sweet who lives with her older and younger brothers. The older brother is called up and dies in a battle. In compensation Ms.Sweet is offered a Turkish P.O.W. to assist her with the daily chores formerly carried on by her brother. He is House Peters. At first she doesn't like the fellah, but as time progresses, the warmth of affection permeates them both. This causes him to protect her when Turkish troops come to occupy the village and one bounder tries to have his way with Ms. Sweet.

The war ends, and the Turk goes back to Turkey. Ms. Sweet then looses her home due to marauders. The Turk is booted out of Turkey because it was found out that he had assisted the enemy. The two refugees then meet on a crossroads, however unlikely that was to be and shuffle off into the sunset.

I suppose Mr. de Mille had to work up to his epics, for this film does not seem to be a piece of his work if you judge the man from what came later. It is a really simple little film, probably done on the cheap. It is though quite effective in bringing across what it sought to achieve and does not linger past its welcome. I doubt whether it lasts more than an hour.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 1:15 pm

IN THE TENTACLES OF THE NORTH (1926) is a bit of a mystery, as well as being rather old-fashioned looking and in its staging. We start off with a dainty tea-party, where the chaps who are off on a whaling expedition are having their health drunk in tea, or perhaps coffee. A bad omen, indeed. We then jump eighteen months, and their ship is icebound, the (SPOILER AHOY) murdered, and the crew fighting like crazy. The one man who can navigate the ship sets off in the direction of some passing Eskimos (as they were called then), and comes across another trapped vessel whose only occupant is a beautiful, but slightly potty damsel (Alice Calhoun) in distress.

I'm not sure if there is a missing section at the beginning of the film, as the plot gets pottier and pottier as the film goes on until the twist at the end, which would explain the daftness of the rest of the film. Directed by Louis Chaudet, whose last film was THE DEVIL BEAR in 1929.

And unfair to judge CONFESSIONS OF A QUEEN (1925), directed by Victor Seastrom, with a dark-haired Lewis Stone as the womanising king who has to marry Ellen Terry for political reasons. Meanwhile, revolution is a-brewing... A very handsome print, but only about thirty-five minutes of it, as, apart from a few minutes slightly later in the film, the rest is missing. The remainder of the story is spoken in, I presume, Spanish, or perhaps Portuguese.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:07 pm

Bob Furem wrote:My fascination with Miss Davies continues unabated.

I've got When Knighthood Was in Flower DVR'd from TCM in the queue for weekend. It's not a bad fascination to have.

(Although not a silent, I thoroughly enjoyed their recent airing of Blondie of the Follies, perhaps the best talkie I've seen of hers yet. Davies almost never disappoints.)
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:36 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:
Bob Furem wrote:My fascination with Miss Davies continues unabated.

I've got When Knighthood Was in Flower DVR'd from TCM in the queue for weekend. It's not a bad fascination to have.

(Although not a silent, I thoroughly enjoyed their recent airing of Blondie of the Follies, perhaps the best talkie I've seen of hers yet. Davies almost never disappoints.)


Though not for every taste, I think The Restless Sex is one of Davies' best pre-Knighthood films, and a rare chance for Davies to play a fairly realistic modern woman.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 5:06 pm

Cecil B. deMille goes to elaborate lengths to show us right from wrong as far as marriage goes in "Adam's Rib" (1923) and spends a great deal of time doing it.

Anna Q. Nilsson has been married for upteen years to Milton Sills. She is secretly seeing Theodore Kosloff who is the deposed King of Morania. She's been doing this because hubby has been spending too much time making money in his business. However hubby eventually gets drift of what is going on and in order to get the marriage back on the rails, he bribes Morania to put Mr. Kosloff back on his throne. Meanwhile the daughter in the forlorn marriage, Pauline Garon, has been trying to win over the heart of a real dope of a bloke - an archeologist played by Elliot Dexter. But, in order to try and save her parent's marriage, she flirts with Mr. Kosloff in an effort to save her mother from scandal.

On the face of it, it looks like a whole lot of tripe, and I thought so as I started watching the picture and wondered whether I would be able to endure it. Surprisingly, for me, I got lured in by it and eventually got to like what I was seeing on the screen. Perhaps it was all the twists and turns or just that it was better than I had expected?

At one stage I noticed that Mr. Sills method of acting consisted of staring at some action that was happening to the left of the camera. He did this in a lot of the early scenes, branching out into a bit more acting as the film went on.

Apparently there was a color sequence in the film - but it wasn't in the print I had. The accompaniment was appropriate to the film and was played by an accomplished Wurlitzerist.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 6:19 pm

Thank you TCM! I've wanted to see The Three Musketeers (1921) ever since I saw The Three Must-Get-Theres (1922) several years ago, and I was not disappointed. Does the world-famous American action movie tradition descend directly from the Fairbanks swashbucklers? All the elements (violence, stunts, a cavalier attitude to history, a tasteful romance that never gets in the way of the bros being bros, a broad vein of humor) are in there. Did anyone in film history ever convey such a sense of joy in motion for its own sake as Fairbanks?

P.S.: Nice score Ben M!
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 12:38 pm

Partly due to its lack of music, D W Griffith's THE IDOL DANCER (1920) was pretty tough going, until the final sequence which livened things up somewhat. Richard Barthlemess plays a beachcomber, alcoholic and atheist (although his 'atheist credo' smacked more of selfish hedonism to me) who falls for the adopted daughter (Clarine Seymour, who died the same year) of a South Seas islander. More religion emerges in the shape of the local missionary, who is a bit of an interfering type, his invalid nephew (Creighton Hale, who also falls for Seymour) and a black clergyman, played for laughs by Porter Strong, who appears to be a white man in blackface to me. Another who appears to be doing the same thing is Florence Short, who plays Pansy, a misbehaving servant girl. Her antics, though, seem more in keeping than Strong's, whose performance is particularly irritating.

I certainly found THE IDOL DANCER much too long for its content, and much of the religious content, such as the 'arguments' between Christian and atheist, thin and unconvincing. In addition (SPOILER), Seymour's and Barthlemess's conversions are too sudden to be believable, and the latter's action in throwing a gin bottle into the ocean shows little concern for the feet of any native unfortunate to hurt himself on said glass. The (SPOILER) siege at the end livens things up a bit, although that, too is spoiled by Strong's comic capers. Definitely a curate's egg of a film, but probably only one for Griffith and Barthlemess completists.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 6:10 pm

Having sat through a whole lot of pretentious nonsense that meandered nowhere, was basically incoherent and quite boring and was masquerading as a modern motion picture, it was quite refreshing to stumble on to a silent picture - made nearly 100 years ago, that was well crafted, had a good story and was thoroughly entertaining.

When I was little, there seemed to be more house fires than there are now. Probably once a month as a young 'un, me and me mates, would be summoned to witness the latest spectacle. We would of course have our eyes focused on the heroic firemen - who in those days used to wear uniforms of blue serge and shiny brass helmets. It was a toss-up to me, whether I would be a train driver or a fireman when I grew up.

"The 3rd Alarm" (1922) is a film about an older fireman. He is in charge of the horses. In those days, the fire engine was pulled by a team of horses. One day the Fire Brigade station to which he is assigned is motorised and he has to try and learn to drive the engine. He can't master it - and is retired. His son is seeing the daughter of a doctor who is not well regarded by the fireman due to an incident which happened long ago. The fireman misses his horses and causes a fracas when he sees one of them being mistreated by their new owner. In the end of the picture there is a fire in a block of flats and the old fireman manages to do something courageous.

My outline above does not do this film justice. There is quite a lot going on in the film and to think that it could have been put across in the silent medium is a bit of an achievement in itself. It is a very good story, sentimental yes, but not out of context and any overly sentimental scenes are more than overcome by the sheer thrilling dramatics which come towards the end. Above all, it is very entertaining and one does not find a dull moment in any of it.

Produced independently by Emory Johnson from his own script and under his own direction, it is quite a film and probably has been hiding itself on the top shelf for far too long. It deserves to be out there and seen.

The acting throughout is superb and very natural. Ralph Lewis gives a sterling performance as the old fireman. Johnny Walker is his son and Virginia True Boardman is his wife. I was pleased too that the main horse was also introduced to the audience by a title card.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 6:38 pm

"The Pride of Palomar" (1922) is basically the story of a young man thought dead in the Great War, who returns to his ranch and finds it in the hands of receivers. He has to find a great deal of money to get it back and does so by a horse-race. Naturally I am leaving a lot out, but I quite enjoyed this film even though I don't normally like Westerns - although this is not a typical Western.

There is some degree of political incorrectness - so far as depicting Mexicans and Orientals is concerned. Warner Oland is this time a Japanese and one gets the impression that the Japanese were not well regarded in California at one time - especially when they were buying up large tracts of land.

Forrest Stanley is the returned man, Marjorie Daw is the required love interest, Tote Du Crow is the Mexican servant Pablo, George Nichols plays a half-comic part and Joseph J. Dowling plays the father in early scenes.

I suppose it is a good and entertaining film because it is in the hands of Frank Borzage and one would expect something good to come from him.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Sep 17, 2017 8:07 am

Donald Binks wrote:When I was little, there seemed to be more house fires than there are now. Probably once a month as a young 'un, me and me mates, would be summoned to witness the latest spectacle. We would of course have our eyes focused on the heroic firemen - who in those days used to wear uniforms of blue serge and shiny brass helmets. It was a toss-up to me, whether I would be a train driver or a fireman when I grew up.


So which did you end up choosing?

Jim
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostSun Sep 17, 2017 9:10 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Donald Binks wrote:When I was little, there seemed to be more house fires than there are now. Probably once a month as a young 'un, me and me mates, would be summoned to witness the latest spectacle. We would of course have our eyes focused on the heroic firemen - who in those days used to wear uniforms of blue serge and shiny brass helmets. It was a toss-up to me, whether I would be a train driver or a fireman when I grew up.


So which did you end up choosing?

Jim


Neither, I shortly changed my mind (not that the replacement worked any better) after reading a Scrooge McDuck comic and decided to become a billionaire. (I'm still waiting for that to happen). :(
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 6:07 am

Last night watched three silent shorts with Anita Garvin and Marion Byron. Two of the shorts had Max Davidson in them and all three had Edgar Kennedy in them. They were "Feed 'Em and Weep" (1928), "Going Ga-Ga" (1929), and "A Pair of Tights" (1929). All of them were off-the-wall, filled with much slinging of food into people's faces, etc., which sounds so common and no longer funny. WRONG!!!!!!! Both Margaret and I laughed our heads off at all the nonsense. It was all incredibly well-timed and so, so funny. Garvin and Byron were amazing. These are all on DVDs in a set "Female Comedy Teams" put out in Germany by Filmmuseum München. These three had missing parts that have been lovingly restored by stills and cards from experts all over the world. Most of the films are composites of 35mm and 16mm - the best parts of both - and put together so well. Have really loved re-discovering this part of our film heritage that has almost disappeared, but is being rediscovered and somewhat saved again. The accompaniments for these are also wonderful, beautifully performed and very apt.
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 9:05 am

Donald Binks wrote:sat through a whole lot of pretentious nonsense that meandered nowhere, was basically incoherent and quite boring and was masquerading as a modern motion picture


Sounds like 1923's WARNING SHADOWS!

("Sturgeon's Law," you are right again...)
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 9:39 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:Last night watched three silent shorts with Anita Garvin and Marion Byron. Two of the shorts had Max Davidson in them and all three had Edgar Kennedy in them. They were "Feed 'Em and Weep" (1928), "Going Ga-Ga" (1929), and "A Pair of Tights" (1929). All of them were off-the-wall, filled with much slinging of food into people's faces, etc., which sounds so common and no longer funny. WRONG!!!!!!! Both Margaret and I laughed our heads off at all the nonsense. It was all incredibly well-timed and so, so funny. Garvin and Byron were amazing. These are all on DVDs in a set "Female Comedy Teams" put out in Germany by Filmmuseum München. These three had missing parts that have been lovingly restored by stills and cards from experts all over the world. Most of the films are composites of 35mm and 16mm - the best parts of both - and put together so well. Have really loved re-discovering this part of our film heritage that has almost disappeared, but is being rediscovered and somewhat saved again. The accompaniments for these are also wonderful, beautifully performed and very apt.


Have you got a link? The set sounds intriguing.

Jim
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Re: What's The Last Silent Movie You Watched? [2017]

PostMon Sep 18, 2017 11:04 am

Jim,
The site itself is
https://www.muenchner-stadtmuseum.de/sa ... useum.html" target="_blank
but it's all in German...

The shopping part where you'll find this set for sale is - I hope -
https://www.edition-filmmuseum.com/inde ... ollections" target="_blank

Good luck. I've bought two sets there so far, and both have been extraordinary. I've bought the "Hal Roach Female Comedy Teams" and the "Max Davidson short films directed by Leo McCarey". Expensive to buy and to ship, but they do it with the most professional pizazz of anyone I deal with! And the quality is also extraordinary.
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